A primary reason I blog is to oppose people who want to run our lives for us. Liberal activists, the MSM, and some of the louder, shriller (do I hear “triumphant”?) religious conservatives I count as among those who want to run our lives. A principle difference between the MSM, though, and religious conservatives, is that the latter need to win in order to run anything.
So I found it depressing to see (via Glenn Reynolds) apparent confirmation of one of my depressing theories — that religious conservatives (especially the type I’ve criticized for wanting the Republican Party to lose) not only think they’re running the Republican Party, but feel justified in hurling insults at libertarians.

….triumphalism permeated the proceedings. The Republicans, having just held the presidency and consolidated power in Congress, are perhaps entitled to some gloating. But out-and-out arrogance was the order of the conference, as well, and that is what threatens to undo Republican gains in the long term.
Arrogance toward Democrats isn’t the problem — though that was everywhere, from Ann Coulter’s conservative stand-up routine (kind of a Republican version of “You might be a redneck if?” delivered to wildly cheering fans) to the popular t-shirt slogan, “What blue states? I only see red?”
No, the arrogance that will prove problematic, ultimately, was that directed at the libertarian-leaning conservatives by the social conservatives.

What a pity.
They’re forgetting that in a democracy, they need to win. They need to build and maintain coalitions. Such coalitions are anathema to the people who opposed Arnold Schwarzenegger, and I think they’d rather lose than see people like him win. The sort of coalition proposed by QandO would help avert this impending loss:

….”socially tolerant, fiscally conservative” moderates as Schwarzenegger, and Rudy Giuliani may prove unbeatable on the national stage. If we want to remain a voice within the GOP, I suspect we’ll need to hitch our wagon to their coalition, while we still have some political capital. Such a coalition will require uncomfortable compromises, but I really don’t see any other possible alliances.

(And, BTW, Ramesh Ponnuru, in his dismissal of anti-government conservatives during the 1995-1996 period, in my view too quickly forgets the pivotal role played by the media spin of the Oklahoma City bombing.)
I couldn’t agree more with Glenn Reynolds’ statement:

I think that a shift toward religious conservatism is likely to cost the Republicans votes.

Not only is it going to cost them votes, it’s going to cost them big time in terms of lost energy. There are plenty of small “l” libertarians who believe in getting along with people, but once it becomes clear that there’s no getting along, a sort of “screw-em!” mentality develops. Once it becomes mutual, it’s too late.
There are signs it’s getting ugly, and mutually so. As Bill at INDC Journal puts it:

I would advise all of my respected socially conservative friends and fellow bloggers to take note: a lurch towards sane national defense and fiscal policy by a charismatic Dem or three (it could happen), coupled with one too many sneering “RINO” jokes from you hard righties, and this moderate – and many like me – are gone. One day we’ll simply snap, our better judgment overwhelmed by a wacky sense of humor and stewing anger, and you’ll wake up to a nightmarish world where the senior senator from Mass rides into the sunset as SecState and Billary is floating doomed socialized medicine schemes out of the Oval again.

If libertarian-minded Republicans get pissed off enough, they’ll start agreeing with the Democratic position that the religious conservatives are running the show. They might not vote for the Dems, but the psychological fallout will be devastating, because the Democrats know how to capitalize on it. In my view, the key to Democratic victory in the near future will be to portray the Republican Party as in the death grip of religious conservatives.
In this way, demoralized libertarian Republicans will help the other party even if they still vote Republican. Voter psychology works that way. The American people are centrist and tend towards libertarian conservatism. (Note that more than one-third of Bush voters favored legal abortion in one form or another.) But if they think the Republican Party has been taken over by shrill Alan Keyes types, they’ll simply decide they’ve had enough of them for awhile, and they’ll vote Democrat.
Demoralized libertarian Republicans are therefore worse for the Republican Party than are demoralized religious conservatives. Assuming demoralized religious conservatives don’t sit the election out, they make the Republican Party look more reasonable and centrist with their sulking and griping. Libertarian sulking and griping, on the other hand, makes the party look far worse in the eyes of the voters.
Now, while I admit my bias as a small “l” libertarian, I think this boils down not to what I want, but simple arithmetic. Almost math.
And my math tells me that pissed off libertarians hurt the Republican cause much more than pissed off religious conservatives.
How much does it really cost not to insult people, anyway?